L.A. Metro ridership increases, leading to overcrowding on the two newest rail extensions. But Metro is on it.
I took the metro this weekend to get to the Hollywood Bowl. From where I live, I take the Expo line to Downtown and the Red line to Hollywood. Someday there will be more North/South lines that will make the route more convenient (here’s hoping!).
It was a Friday evening, but well after rush hour and before nightlife. It was about a fifteen minute wait until the train arrived, and by that time the platform was filling up. When the train pulled up, I was surprised at how full the cars were already. It didn’t seem like everyone on the platform would be able to squeeze into the three fully-packed cars. Somehow everyone made it, but there was no room to spare. I can’t imagine trying to maneuver a bike on the train!
The Expo line officially opened service to Santa Monica in May. Since then, ridership has skyrocketed. Most of the train cars are full, even during off-peak hours. It’s a fairly stress-free way to get from Downtown to the beach, or vice versa. But the complaints are rising that the wait times are too long and there are not enough cars to accommodate the influx in passengers.
Metro CEO, Phil Washington, recently announced that they are already in the process of producing additional cars to alleviate overcrowding on both the Expo and Gold lines. Metro contractor, Kinky Sharyo, is producing 4 cars per month, which then move on to testing before they are put into commission.
It’s encouraging to see LA Metro taking proactive measures to keep riders happy. Hopefully they will be able to keep up with ridership demand, and keep pace with their expansion and additional lines (such as the Crenshaw line).
In any case, the metro trip from my home to Hollywood was convenient. It took about as long as it would take driving to the venue in traffic. It’s nice not to have to worry about driving, but we’re still far from the day when we can hop on the metro to get anywhere in the city.